Survey: Walking now the most popular mode of transportation in America?

Adults log just 5,900 steps on average each day — significantly less than recommended by health experts.

NEW YORK — Forget the bus – if given the choice, more than half of all Americans would rather walk. According to a poll of 2,002 adults, 54 percent would choose walking as their preferred mode of transportation whenever possible. In fact, three in five are willing to walk a mile before seeking other methods of transportation.

Almost half the poll (46%) are using a step counter to track their progress.

Respondents reported taking an average of 5,900 steps a day, but hope to almost double that amount in 2022 – adding another 5,430 steps to their daily tally.

Steps are no walk in the park

The poll, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Superfeet, found that getting those extra steps in isn’t a walk in the park. One-third of respondents avoid walking due to chronic pain. While some attribute this pain to standing all day at work, another 31 percent blame uncomfortable footwear.

However, people are taking action against their foot pain, regardless of the cause. Almost three in 10 (29%) use foot bed or pads, 27 percent opt for insoles, and 24 percent stick with orthotic devices. Respondents also attempt to ease foot pain with over-the-counter oral pain medication (30%) and therapeutic socks (26%).

One-third rack up the most steps per day by taking the stairs. In fact, two-thirds (67%) will climb between three and eight flights of stairs on any given day.

Meanwhile, others increase their step counts by multi-tasking or knocking out other daily chores. Specifically, one-third (34%) get their steps in by walking their dog and 36 percent do so by running errands. Even more people (42%) accumulate their steps by exercising. Similarly, 44 percent of respondents choose to walk to get a quick workout in and burn some calories.

“If you are starting to incorporate walking as exercise, try easing in wearing a step counter and gradually increasing your steps each week,” says Matt Gooch, M.S., C.Ped, and V.P. of Product and Innovation at Superfeet, in a statement. “Don’t wait for pain to slow you down; one of the most important things you can do from the beginning is to make sure your footwear fits and functions properly. Many local retailers offer gait analysis and expert advice on footwear and insole fitting.”

How do you stroll?

Although 44 percent of respondents go on walks to enjoy the weather, hot days may be a stronger deterrent than cold ones. Two in five people (41%) opt for other transportation methods during the summer, compared to just 17 percent who feel the same about walking during winter.

Speed might be another factor; almost four in five (78%) consider themselves as fast walkers. Two-thirds of these respondents get frustrated when they’re stuck behind people with a slow gait. While they might be frustrated, they don’t show it — 67 percent will instead just follow the pace of the crowd around them. Three-quarters (76%) admit to walking faster when walking with family or friends.

“Data shows that scheduling walks with friends and agreeing on a regular walking time is a great way to keep yourself accountable. If you can’t get outdoors, head to your local mall,” Gooch says. “Studies have found that mall walking is a safe, accessible, and affordable exercise environment. They provide a temperature-controlled environment with a flat, predictable surface and stairwells to increase intensity.”

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